Thursday, 5 May 2016

Bernwood green wings

Bernwood Meadow is one of those special places. You wouldn't know it was there unless somebody showed you or you were lucky enough to just stumble across it, but a visit at this time of year is sure to lift your spirits. Wander through an ancient hunting forest, turn this way and that, then there it is, the gate to the reserve. Step through and prepare to gasp .... well it wasn't quite the breath taking moment today, but another week and it will be! Today it was close to being spectacular from afar, but not quite.
An ancient meadow that has never been farmed using modern techniques.
You can still see the ridges and furrows where the meadow used to farmed. 
However, as we made our way through the meadow we could see thousands of tiny green winged orchids that were just open or in bud. Get a little closer and they really are beautiful little treasures. Deep purple gems scattered throughout the grass.

Look really closely and you can see the green veins on their wings that give them their name and the pretty spotty pattern running down their front.

The majority were purple, ranging from very deep plum, to amethyst and pale lavender.


Many had a white patch where the spots appear and we even found some pale pink and white flowers, although those seemed to be blooming later than the purple flowers. I suspect there will be many more white and pink flowers on show in a week or so.

We looked for the early marsh orchids, but there was no sign of them yet, so they may be a couple more weeks. We did fine one snake's-head fritillary in one of the meadows. It had gone over, but wouldn't that be wonderful if they could take hold in the meadow too.

What's left of a snake's-head fritillary
My first orchid 'moment' of the year and what a wonderful one. I'll try to go back and see them at their peak ... they really are a magnificent site. What could be better than spending a morning in an ancient meadow full of beautiful orchids.

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